The Impact of Homelessness on Women and Mothers

Many mothers dealing with homelessness have faced significant interpersonal violence. Whether this violence was a contributing factor to their housing issues or not, these moms also experience PTSD and related symptoms like sadness, hopelessness, fear, anger, and self-blame. For them, becoming homeless is another major traumatic event.

The USA has the largest number of homeless women among industrial nations and the highest number since the Great Depression. Factors like cost and access to childcare, a living wage, affordable housing, support for victims of DV, mental and physical health services, access to transportation, and prejudice are all contributing elements to the homelessness crisis.

The findings below have been researched and are consistent between 2012 through 2021 and extracted from various National sources including Annual Homeless Assessment Reports from The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


  • An estimated 50% of all homeless people are women.
  • Over 92% of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse during their lifetime.
  • Over 85% of homeless families are headed by women—specifically, by single women with children—and domestic violence is a principal cause of homelessness among single mother families.
  • 63% report that this abuse was perpetrated by an intimate partner.
  • 50% of homeless women experience a major depressive episode after becoming homeless.
  • 53% of homeless mothers do not have a high school diploma.
  • 29% of adults in homeless families are working.
  • 42% of children in homeless families are under the age of six.
  • Victims of domestic violence experience major barriers in obtaining and maintaining housing and often return to their abusers because they cannot find long-term housing.

The Complex Web of Homelessness and Domestic Violence

The intersection of homelessness and domestic violence is a complex and troubling issue. Many homeless mothers find themselves trapped in a cycle of abuse and homelessness, unable to escape the grasp of their abusers or find stable housing for themselves and their children.

For these women, the trauma of domestic violence often precedes their homelessness. They may have endured years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of intimate partners, leaving them with deep emotional scars. When they finally gather the courage to leave their abusers, they face the harsh reality of homelessness, as they struggle to find safe and affordable housing.

The statistics speak volumes about the challenges faced by homeless mothers. Over 92% of them have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse during their lifetime. This staggering number highlights the urgent need for comprehensive support and resources to break the cycle of violence and homelessness.

The Impact of Homelessness on Mental Health

Becoming homeless is a traumatic event in itself, compounding the mental health challenges that homeless mothers already face due to past abuse. It’s no surprise that 50% of homeless women experience a major depressive episode after becoming homeless. The constant uncertainty, fear for their safety and the safety of their children, and the daily struggle to meet basic needs all take a toll on their mental well-being.

Imagine being a homeless mother, trying to shield your children from the harsh realities of life on the streets while battling the emotional scars of past abuse. The weight of hopelessness, fear, and self-blame can become overwhelming. It’s essential to recognize that homelessness is not just a lack of physical shelter; it’s also a deep emotional and psychological struggle.

Educational Barriers and the Cycle of Poverty

Education is often considered a path out of poverty, but homeless mothers face significant barriers to accessing and completing their education. According to the data, 53% of homeless mothers do not have a high school diploma. This lack of education further limits their employment opportunities and perpetuates the cycle of economic disadvantages.

Many homeless mothers want to provide a better life for their children and understand the importance of education. However, the daily challenges of homelessness, such as finding food and safety, often take precedence over pursuing an education. Breaking this cycle requires targeted support and resources that address both immediate needs and long-term goals.

The Working Homeless Population

It may come as a surprise, but 29% of adults in homeless families are working. These mothers are doing their best to provide for their families despite the challenges they face. However, their income is often insufficient to secure stable housing, especially during an affordable housing crisis.

Imagine working a job and still not being able to afford a place to call home. These working homeless mothers are caught in a catch-22: they earn too much to qualify for some assistance programs, yet their income is too low to cover housing costs. This highlights the critical need for policies and programs that address the affordability of housing and ensure that work is a pathway out of homelessness, not a perpetrator of it.

The Impact on Children

Children in homeless families are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of homelessness and domestic violence. According to the data, 42% of children in homeless families are under the age of six. This means that a significant portion of homeless children are at a crucial stage of development, and their well-being is at risk.

The instability of homelessness disrupts a child’s routine, access to education, and sense of security. Witnessing domestic violence or being subjected to it leaves lasting emotional scars. These children are often trapped in a cycle of trauma and instability that can have lifelong consequences.

Breaking the Cycle with Turning Point Community Services

Amidst these troubling statistics and challenges, Turning Point Community Services is dedicated to making a difference. We recognize that homelessness among mothers and their children is not an insurmountable problem but one that can be addressed with compassion, innovation, and community support.

Turning Point Community Services is a solution provider that stands to support those at the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness. We understand that these issues are deeply intertwined and require a holistic approach to support women in regaining their independence and providing a brighter future for their children.

Our innovative programs and resources are designed to address the complex needs of homeless mothers, helping them heal from the trauma of abuse, acquire essential life skills, and prepare for a more prosperous future. By focusing on both short-term assistance and long-term empowerment, we aim to break the cycle of violence and homelessness.

How You Can Be Part of the Solution

The statistics and stories of homeless mothers and their children are undoubtedly distressing, but there is hope. You can be a part of the solution by supporting organizations like Turning Point Community Services in our mission to positively impact the lives of women experiencing homelessness and abuse.

Donating to Turning Point Community Services can make a significant difference! Your funds will go toward innovative programs and resources that support independence, nurture intrapersonal growth, and prepare residents for a more prosperous future. Every contribution, no matter how small, can make a positive impact on the lives of homeless mothers and their children, offering them a chance for a brighter future.

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